Oktoberfest: Facts and Tips
Be a part of Oktoberfest in Munich this year when the world's largest folk festival celebrates its 205th birthday! You're welcome to join us on tour or use the information below to do it yourself. (That said, you'll be hard-pressed to do it cheaper than what we offer in our guided Oktoberfest tour packages.)
Below we've penned 18 interesting and need-to-know facts for the fairgrounds and beer tents.
(1) There is no cost to enter a beer tent or the festival grounds.
(2) In 2015, for the first time the price for a liter of beer (called a Maß, pronounced like ‘moss’) surpassed the 10-euro mark in all tents, costing between 10.10€ and 10.30€ (depending on the tent).
(3) Besides beer, soda and mineral water are available in every tent, as well as alcohol-free beer (in liter mugs for the same price as normal beer) and some wine.
(4) Beer is served from 10:00 Mon-Fri (from 9:00 Sat/Sun) until last call around 22:20; tents begin closing at 22:45 but “Käfer’s Wies’n Schänke” (No. 12 on our beer-tent list) stays open until 01:00, last call 00:15!
(5) In all tents you have to be seated to order a beer, with the exception of the standing zone in the Hofbräu tent (No. 5 on our beer-tent list). And you must order your beer from the server responsible for the section you’re in.
(6) Tents are packed Friday nights, all day Saturday, and Sunday till around 20:00. If there is a line to get in, try the side and back entrances. When the tent is utterly “overflowing with people” you’ll see a large sign hanging outside with the words: Wegen Überfüllung geschlossen! (In which case, try your luck at another tent or come back later.) Week days are easier to get a seat in a tent but week nights are busy (and note that the last Thursday night of the fest is chock-a-block full). The larger the group you are, the more difficult it will be to find seats. Small groups of 2-3 persons are manageable (depending on when you go); larger groups should be prepared to split up or join our Oktoberfest tour package.
(7) The drinking age in Germany is 18 for hard alcohol and 16 for beer, therefore you may see some juvenile faces in the mix, especially in the Schottenhamel tent.
(8) In the center of every tent is a stage for live bands to play sets from noon until closing with few breaks.
(9) All tents have a large kitchen and multiple chefs who prepare delectable Bavarian cuisine for lunch and dinner, e.g. cold cuts, sausages, soups, sauerkraut, schnitzel, schweinshaxe, pommes frites, potato salad, roast chicken and duck, pork with dumplings, apple strudel. Some tents specialize in a particular fare, like roast ox at the Ochsenbraterei (No. 7 on our beer-tent list) and smoked fish at Fischer Vroni (No. 1 on the list).
(10) It takes two months for construction workers to transform the fairgrounds from an enormous 100-acre asphalt expanse to a pulsating city of beer tents and food stands, roller coasters and carnival rides—and one month to disassemble it all.
(11) Some 6.5 million people will visit the fairgrounds during the two-week event and together they will consume the same number in liters of beer as well as 500, 000 roasted chickens, 120, 000 pairs of sausages, 80, 000 liters of wine, 50, 000 pork knuckles, 30, 000 bottles of champagne, and a gazillion pretzels. All told, fest-goers will bring an economic boon to the city of Munich to the tune of around 1€ billion, or US$1.3 billion. That’s roughly 62€ million, or $80 million, per day!
(12) You’ll be relieved to know there are roughly 965 toilets and 1 km of urinal troughs at the fairgrounds.
(13) Interestingly, by the end of last year’s Oktoberfest, Lost and Found had a mountain of some 4, 000 unclaimed items, including 260 pairs of eyeglasses, 200 cell phones, two pairs of crutches, one wedding ring, and—get this—one set of dentures. Crutches we understand, beer for centuries has been used as a curative, but dentures? What a night that must have been….